By: Sharon Aron Baron
White supremacists chanting anti-Semitic lines like “Jews will not replace us” were on the minds of residents and elected officials at a recent Legislative Town Hall in Kings Point. Held on August 16, Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and State Representative Jared Moskowitz (D-Coral Springs) spoke to the audience, which included both Democrats and Republicans.
State Representative Moskowitz, who represents Coral Springs and Tamarac said that something feels different in this country now. “There’s something going on in this country. It feels different for some reason. We can say Donald Trump’s not my president, but I can tell you one thing that Donald Trump has done: he’s made Democrats miss George W. Bush.”
He said based on what he’s seen in the last couple weeks, It’s no longer a reality show, or musical chairs, and it wasn’t funny anymore.
“It’s not funny when you turn on the TV and you see people with KKK shirts and white supremacists with torches chanting anti-Jewish slogans. You see that on TV on real time in 2017. I don’t remember thousands of Nazi’s coming out with torches last year. If I did, I must have missed it. Not only that, but the Nazi’s literally took the tactics of ISIS when they took that car and ran over that girl. It feels different.”
Moskowitz, whose grandparents escaped Europe and survived the Holocaust, couldn’t believe that people identifying as Nazi’s now feel comfortable identifying with them after they killed over 11 million people.
“When it comes to Nazi’s, there aren’t many sides. There aren’t two sides. And the fact that some people showed up to protest the Nazi’s and it got violent, somehow they’re to blame for that? We fought a whole war…a lot of people died. This idea that they now feel comfortable to come out en masse and spread their message of hatred and bigotry. There aren’t many sides.”
In the Florida legislature, he spoke about medical marijuana and the special legislative session to address medical marijuana legislation. After Amendment 2 passed by the voters Moskowitz fought against a bill that limited what voters wanted. For instance, in the first bill, if a patient wasn’t carrying their medical marijuana prescription license and someone witnessed them using medical marijuana, they would be charged with a misdemeanor. Moskowitz said this didn’t make sense because on the other hand, if someone had a concealed weapon and forgot their permit, it was only a $25 fine.
“So they wanted you to be guilty of a misdemeanor if you left your medical marijuana card home, but if you left your permit home for your gun it was only $25.”
Moskowitz also spoke about the importance of funding for the Low Income Pool (LIP) to reimburse hospitals for the costs of caring for Floridians who are uninsured.
Congressman Alcee Hastings
Alcee Hastings, who has been to Israel 18 times quoted Don Lemon of CNN. “There is no moral equivalent to someone who is a Nazi. There is no moral equivalent to someone who is anti-Semitic. There is no moral equivalent for someone who is racist, pure and simple.”
He asked the audience to think about why people are mad because there’s a Robert E. Lee High School.
“Why are they mad? How would you like to have a Hitler Elementary School? How would you like to have a Goebbels High School?”
Hastings touched on the budget and how there were cuts to the Special Olympics, Meals on Wheels, pre-k, after-school programs and Head Start. He stressed how important it was to elect new representatives in congress and in the senate in 2018.
Hastings responded to President Trump’s comments after the incident in Charlottesville. “What took place in Charlottesville was an act of domestic terrorism, not a two-sided affair. The president has lost all moral authority to lead this nation by continuing to stand with white supremacists. President Trump is fueling the fires of hate. This is completely outrageous and every single elected representative in congress, regardless of party, must hold him accountable.”